Conferences News

International Medieval Congress to focus on Travel and Exploration

The International Medieval Congress (IMC), the largest academic conference in Great Britain, will be featuring some of the world’s finest medieval minds as they present the advantages yet inevitable dangers of travel in the medieval world.

From 12-15 July, over 1,500 scholars from around the world will gather at the University of Leeds for the eighteenth International Medieval Congress. The IMC is a unique forum for lively discussion and debate on some of the most interesting part of our medieval past. This year’s theme Travel and Exploration has attracted presentations from some of the world’s leading academics. Papers are to be given on a range of topics, from “Early 15th Century Canary Island Cruises”, to “Medieval Masculinity and the Material Culture of Drinking” and even “Bearded Women and Sea Monsters: Reports from the North before 1200.”


Some highlights of the Congress include:

  • A talk by Kevin Leahy on the Anglo-Saxon Treasure discovered in Staffordshire and what will be known about its contents by July 2010.
  • Felipe Fernández-Armesto argues why world history must encompass maritime history if we are to truly understand the past.
  • A lecture by Michael McCormick on the missi dominici, a set of medieval documents which offer the most detailed statistical portrait of any Christian church province before the Domesday Book.

This year’s keynote address will be given by Patrick Gautier Dalché (Ecole Practique des Hautes Etudes, Paris), who will discuss the multiple functions of maps, and Dionisius Agius (University of Exeter), who will try to explain why people in Medieval Islam took the sea despite its dangers.

In addition to the academic papers, there will be a series of performances, fairs and workshops.


One of the poplar notions of medieval life was that it was very insular. However, the medieval world around people was full of international flavour. “The core of the world as we know it was discovered in the later Middle Ages,” says Axel Muller, Director of the IMC. “A common perception is that people stayed at home and eek-ed out their miserable existence with local produce. But how come that the Vale of York hoard contains coins from as far away as Samarkand, Afghanistan and Russia, held together in a vessel from France or Germany? Many spices, such as pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger from far-away lands were well known and used in 14th century England – even in non-royal households.”

A full programme of events is available at For more information, tickets for special events or other inquiries, call the IMC office on 0113 343 3614.

Source: International Medieval Congress